Mary Gorše Manning possesses few pleasant memories of her home country of Slovenia. After a life filled with constant fear, she is grateful for the opportunities her new home has offered.
Born in 1935, the majority of Ms. Gorše Manning’s childhood took place amidst the Italian and German occupation of Slovenia during the Second World War. Although the fighting ended in 1945, a new battle “had just begun”. Mary’s family left Slovenia and headed towards Austria. Her family was relocated to a displaced persons camp—or DP camp—in the city of Spittal where they lived for four years.
During her time in the DP camp, Ms. Gorše Manning enjoyed spending time with other children at the camp’s school. They performed plays and other performances to help detract from the harsh conditions in the camp. As countries gradually began accepting these families, Mary’s family decided to immigrate to the United States with her aunt as a sponsor. In 1949, Ms. Gorše Manning boarded a boat and set sail for America. Although some aspects of the boat ride were uncomfortable, she was surrounded by more food than any previous time of her life. Eleven days later, she arrived at Ellis Island in New York.
During her time in the United States, Mary has graduated high school, worked with National Supermarkets, started a family, and has since retired. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband. They have seven children and eighteen grandchildren.